Everton have reportedly joined the race to sign Arsenal target Sander Berge and are monitoring his contract situation at Sheffield United.
According to a report from Transfer Market Web, Everton are the latest party to have enquired Sheffield United on the transfer prospect of their 23-year-old midfielder Sander Berge, with Arsenal and Napoli among the other clubs to have registered their interest in the Norwegian sensation.
Berge joined Sheffield United in a deal worth £22 million from Belgian outfit Genk back in January 2020. He made just 16 appearances in all competitions for the Blades last season due to a long-term injury. In total, Berge has made 30 appearances for the Blades, contributing two goals and two assists in the process, but it is his technical elegance and all-around play that catches the eyes of the neutral.
Berge has got a remarkable first touch and excellent short passing accuracy. He is also very good at knitting strings of passes in the midfield to eventually release a line-breaking through pass. The 23-year-old is a talented passer who can get out of tight situations by using different portions of his foot, deft skills or a little progressive dribbling.
Berge’s situation at Bramall Lane is a bit complicated, though he is actively seeking a way out of Sheffield United and has attracted huge interest from both Premier League and overseas clubs. The Blades are not in a frame of mind to get rid of one of their key players and consider him integral in their quest to seal an instant return to the top flight.
Everton were recently linked with Sean Longstaff and Denis Zakaria, which suggests they are scouting the market for a well-rounded midfielder who is good at playmaking and gritty in his defensive work to bolster Rafael Benitez’s midfield options.
Berge fits the profile very well, seeing as in his first season in the Premier League, he averaged 2.5 tackles & interception per 90. Alhough he needs to work on extending his range of passing and a bit on his defensive output, he could be an exciting addition to the Everton squad and will provide creativity and link-up play from central midfield, an area which got severely exposed in a 4-0 thrashing to Manchester United in a pre-season friendly.
There are also rumours doing the rounds that James Rodriguez might be on the move to AC Milan or FC Porto as he does not feature in Rafa Benitez plans, which will eventually force Everton to step in the market to find an apt replacement. As for Arsenal, they remain in the market for a midfield reinforcement despite the addition of Albert Sambi Lokonga.
Granit Xhaka is set to stay put at the Emirates as well, although it must be pointed out that Thomas Partey is proving to be quite injury-prone, which is perhaps why it has become imperative for Arsenal to scour the market for a solution, with Berge a viable target.
He still has three years left to run on his Sheffield United contract. However, his £35 million relegation release clause is active now, so if anyone wants him, they will have to trigger the clause. The aforementioned buyout price is the only condition but enough to fend off any potential suitors. It will be interesting to see whether or not Everton or Arsenal can fork out this huge amount of cash to secure Berge’s signature.